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Francesco Redi

  • Object:

    Medal

  • Place of origin:

    Florence (made)

  • Date:

    1684-1685 (made)

  • Artist/Maker:

    Soldani Benzi, Massimiliano, born 1656 - died 1740 (medallist)

  • Materials and Techniques:

    Bronze

  • Museum number:

    A.30-1977

  • Gallery location:

    In Storage

The sitter Francesco Redi (1626-1698) in addition to being chief physician to the Medicean Grand-Dukes Ferdinando II and Cosimo III and a zoologist, was widely renowned as a poet and philosopher. Soldani had already portrayed him in a medal and in 1684/5 Cosimo III commissioned three more medals, each with a different reverse alluding to his various activities. The present reverse reflects his philosophical interests with Minerva as goddess of Wisdom being crowned with laurel and directed towards the temple, as she tramples the figure of Father Time. The snake is both an attribute to Minerva symbolizing Prudence, and, when biting its own tail, of Father Time, symbolizing Eternity. This reverse is comparatively rare.

Physical description

Obverse: Profile portrait bust of Francesco Redi to right, with flowing long hair or wig; a decorated shirt visible beneath draped cloak; inscribed around the border.
Reverse: to the left a seated female figure dressed in flowing robes pulled in around her body, her head covered, hands a laurel to Minerva with her right hand; her left leg over her right with the foot resting on a globe, she indicates the temple in the background. Minerva kneels on the head of the personification of Time who falls backwards onto the ground. Behind two columns supporting an entablature with an inscription partly obscured, on which a snake eats itself; all set in front of a rocky landscape; inscribed around the border.

Place of Origin

Florence (made)

Date

1684-1685 (made)

Artist/maker

Soldani Benzi, Massimiliano, born 1656 - died 1740 (medallist)

Materials and Techniques

Bronze

Marks and inscriptions

'FRANCISCVS.RED.PATRITIVS.ARETINVS' / [signed] 'M.SOLD.1684'
obverse

'...ETERNITATI' / [signed] 'AERE.PEREMNIVS' / [signed exergue] 'M.S.F.1685'
reverse

Dimensions

Diameter: 8.79 cm

Object history note

Bought together with A.29 to A.31-1977 from Spink's for the total of £430, reduced by 10% to £387, in 1977.

Descriptive line

Medal, bronze, Francesco Redi, by Massimiliano Soldani-Benzi, Italian (Florence), 1684/5

Bibliographic References (Citation, Note/Abstract, NAL no)

Avery, Charles and Keeble, K. Coray, Florentine Baroque Bronzes and Other Objects of Art, Royal Ontario Museum, exhibition catalogue, 1975, pp. 66-67

Materials

Bronze

Subjects depicted

Globe; Columns; Snake; Female figure; Temple

Categories

Coins & Medals; Portraits; Myths & Legends; Sculpture

Collection

Sculpture Collection

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